Knee Knock Outs - There are few more exhilirating finishes in mixed martial arts than a one shot KO via a knee strike and on Friday night MMA fans were treated to not one but two examples of such. The first was provided by Brian Rogers who annihilated Vitor Vianna in the opening round of Bellators middleweight tournament. “The Predator” first buckled Vianna with a right hand and immediately followed up with a flying right knee that put the Brazilian out cold. The win marks the ninth of Rogers career, all by first round stoppage. Rogers was tabbed as a favorite to win this tournament and showed exactly why at Bellator 61.
Elsewhere on the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber selected their teams with Faber opting to choose the first fight after winning a coin toss. Urijah would select Daron Cruickshank to represent his team against James Vick of Team Cruz. The result would not be long in wait as midway through the first round Cruickshank would shoot for a takedown only to be met with a knee to the head that instantly put him down and out. And just like that Vick moves on and puts himself in a strong position to win a $25,000 bonus for KO of the season as voted by fans.
Including Pat Currans knee that set in motion his stoppage over Joe Warren last weekend and these two which followed suit it’s clear that knee strikes are some of the mose effective and potent in MMA. Now if only they would be legalized to throw to the head of a fighter on the ground such as they were in PRIDE.
Sergio Martinez - Much like with his previous bout with Darren Barker, Sergio Martinez may have not gotten it done as easily as expected against Matthew Macklin but he certainly did it with style in the end. Macklin seemed to puzzle the recognized middleweight champion early on as he stayed in the center of the ring rather than aggressively attacking Martinez as “Maravilla” anticipated. Both fighters had moments in the first half of the contest yet it would be the challenger who would score the first knockdown in 7th round as he caught Martinez off balance forcing his glove to touch the canvas. Martinez would respond by landing some solid shots on Macklin as the round ended. The champ would begin to take control of the bout from the 8th round on as he began to land more frequently and Macklin would slowly yet steadily tire. By the 11th round Martinez was in command of Macklin whose face was cut, bloody, and swelling up when Maravilla landed a straight left that sent the challenger down. Macklin would get up only to be swarmed by Martinez who would knock him down once more as the round came to a close. Though Macklin would beat the referees count his trainer Buddy McGirt would stop the fight in the corner before the 12th giving Sergio his second straight victory via late knock out. It’s difficult to predict if this performance will entice Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, or even Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to seek a fight against Martinez but regardless he sent his fans home happy with an emphatic finish.
Kendall Holt - There’s not a whole lot to say about Kendall Holts second round TKO over Tim Coleman on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights other than he clealy showed who was the superior of the two. Holt dropped Coleman to a knee in round 1 with a thudding left to the body. Perhaps sensing his opponent ready for the taking Holt came out agressively in the 2nd knocking Coleman down three times before his corner threw in the towel. The win was a good return for Holt who was coming off a loss to Danny Garcia, as for Coleman…
Tim Coleman - Any fighter that steps inside the ring or cage should be given respect for doing so, that said there are times when some should be questioned for their efforts. This was the case for Tim Coleman on Friday night as he was saved by his corner in the second round in his loss to Kendall Holt after going down three times. It almost appeared if Coleman mentally checked out in the second and had conceded to defeat before the bout was over, ringside commentator Teddy Atlas noted as much. Before the fight Holt said Coleman was more bark than bite and in the end it appears he was right.
ShoBox – Maybe it’s just me but lately it seems as if Showtimes ShoBox series is hit or miss. Well this past Fridays episode was moreso the latter in my opinion. Sure you had definitive wins by the two favorites, Randy Caballero and Omar Figueroa respectively. The problem is the bouts were not all that competitive and it comes as no surprise taking into consideration the matchups. Caballero scored a relatively easy decision over Jose Luis Araiza while Figueroa stopped the much smaller Ramon Ayala in the second round after failing to make weight. I don’t expect every fight on ShoBox to be a back and forth battle but is it too much to ask for competitive matchmaking from a series that was built on such?
The Usual Suspects - I figure since I’m being redundant at this point why not just call it as I see it and throw the “usual suspects” together. First up are the three boxing judges who scored the fight between Abraham Lopez and Gabriel Tolmajyan on Friday Night Fights. Lopez would be awarded a unanimous decision by scores of 79-73 and 78-74 twice in a contest that was much closer than those scorecards would indicate let alone one in which many felt Tolmajyan deserved to win. It comes as no surprise that Lopez was fighting close to home in front of a crowd and possibly judges who were in his support.
This next one may be nitpicking on my part but is there anything that can be done to improve HBOs ringside commentary team, particularly Jim Lampley? I’ve heard people rip on Larry Merchant, Max Kellerman, and Roy Jones, myself included at times but my biggest issue is with Lampley who continues with his bias comments. This time it was in relation to Sergio Martinez.
Before the fight started HBO as usual showed a list of top fighters at middleweight and Lampley criticized each one for avoiding Martinez except for HBO favorite Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. whom Lampley said Martinez was unlikely to face due to size differential. Huh? That certainly wasn’t the case when Chavez fought the smaller Sebastian Zbik on HBO, but I digress. Then throughout the Macklin bout it was evident which fighter Lampley was rooting for, the “house” fighter, who in this instance was Martinez. I don’t expect much from ringside broadcasters but is it too much to ask for competent and unbiased commentary? Unfortunately at times it seems so.
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